Mason Thompson | June 13th, 2020
Washington is the first team I have revealed so far that completely overhauled their coaching staff. Ron Rivera joins the team as the head coach and brings a ton of coaching experience, having made it to the Super Bowl during his time in Carolina. This is a surprising ranking given how much the team has improved this year on paper, but when you dive deeper, there are still some major issues.
Make sure to check out all of our in-depth power rankings here.
- Overall – 72.68 (30th)
- Offense – 68.445 (32nd)
- Defense – 79.69 (18th)
- Coach and Culture – 75 (27th)
- Home Field Advantage – 78, 25th (4% Defense, 2% Overall)
Quarterbacks – 67, 31st(36% Offense, 27% Overall)
I am high on Dwayne Haskins, but last year and some of the moves the organization made in the offseason have me worried. In the seven games started, he completed less than 59% of his passes while throwing for the same amount of touchdowns as interceptions. Of course, with only one real receiver and your starting running back injured, there is bound to be some growing pains. The main reason why I’m worried about Haskins is that Rivera brought in one of his favorites, Kyle Allen. In the first four games Allen started for Carolina last year, he passed for 901 yards and threw for eight touchdowns to no interceptions. After that though, he struggled. With Rivera handpicking Allen and giving draft capital to get him, Haskins could be on a short leash.
Behind those two is undrafted free agent, Steven Montez. Montez is a low-floor, high-ceiling prospect that could be a prime candidate for the practice squad for a few years. Of course, Alex Smith is still there and is working hard to come back from his gruesome leg injury from a few years ago.
Running Backs – 75, 29th (4% Offense, 3% Overall)
This ranking may be a slight surprise but there is a lot of bodies in this running back room and no one has really stood out. Derrius Guice has only played in five of a possible 32 games thus far in his short career. I still feel like he could be a star, but the injuries are a huge worry. Washington still has Adrian Peterson who has led the team in rushing the past two years but they have added plenty of options during the offseason. Bryce Love didn’t take a snap last year and could find himself as a potential cut thanks to the depth the team added.
Washington drafted Memphis playmaker, Antonio Gibson in the third round of the draft. Rivera has already linked Gibson to his new version of Christian McCaffrey. It was unknown what position he would play, but it seems as though Washington has a plan for how they would like to use him. Peyton Barber and J.D. McKissic were added via free agency as veterans who will likely take a backseat to Guice and Gibson.
Pass Catchers – 71.5, 31st (17% Offense, 8% Overall)
Two second-year players will likely man the perimeter in Terry McLaurin and Kelvin Harmon. McLaurin was the only playmaker at the receiver position last year, catching 58 passes for over 900 yards and seven touchdowns. With more time with Haskins, he should take another step this year. Harmon plummeted in the draft but will have a big role this year as the team’s number two option. Steven Sims is a fan favorite who will likely be starting in the slot over Trey Quinn. Sims had 34 catches for 310 yards and four touchdowns while adding another touchdown rushing.
After those three, the depth chart falls off completely. Cam Sims had two receptions last year and will likely just be used on special teams. Washington brought in Cody Latimer but he has recently been in trouble with the law. Antonio Gandy-Golden was selected during the draft and will likely be the fourth receiver if Latimer’s issues result in him getting cut. Rounding out the depth chart is Emmanuel Hall who could have some upside and could possibly go off during the preseason and make the roster.
The Redskins tight end room is quite possibly the worst in the league. Jeremy Sprinkle projects as the starter, only having caught 33 passes in his first two years. Richard Rodgers has fallen off since his big moment catching the hail mary from Aaron Rodgers against Detroit and would be cut on other teams as he has recently. There are two young, developmental pieces in Caleb Wilson and Thaddeus Moss but neither figure to play a major role early in the year.
Offensive Line – 68.5, 29th (24% Offense, 12% Overall)
The right side of the offensive line is fine with Brandon Scherff and Morgan Moses starting at right guard and tackle. Other than that though, the offensive line is in shambles. Trent Williams‘ departure opens up a massive hole at left tackle. There seems to be a three-man battle for who will start there between Cornelius Lucas, Geron Christian, and Saahdiq Charles. The left guard and center spots are also a mess as Wes Schweitzer, Wes Martin, and Chase Roullier will battle for those two starting spots. The offensive line could be one of the main reasons why Haskins struggles this year and why the offense is ranked last in these power rankings.
Run Defense – 81, 16th (6% Defense, 2% Overall)
Washington has one of the deepest defensive lines in the league. Da’Ron Payne and Jonathan Allen are a great young tandem in the middle of the defensive line. Even behind those two though, the Redskins have a ton of depth. Matt Ioannidis, Tim Settle, and Caleb Brantley are all capable depth players that will factor into the defensive line rotation.
Reuben Foster is back from his torn ACL suffered last year. It is uncertain if he will still be at the same level he was during his time in San Francisco. Rivera brought in Thomas Davis to help out the young linebacking core. While he isn’t at the same level he once was, he can still provide some valuable linebacking play while being a teacher to the rest of the room. Cole Holcomb was a fifth-round draft pick last year who played because of injuries but will find himself having plenty of playing time after a 105 tackle season.
Pass Rush – 84, 7th (21% Defense, 10% Overall)
Chase Young will be Washington’s version of Myles Garrett. He is a do it all pass rusher who has a knack for getting after whoever has the ball in their hands. Ioannidis finished last year with 8.5 sacks, most on the team. Montez Sweat played in a rotational role last year but still managed to accumulate seven sacks. Ryan Kerrigan will be the team’s third rusher off the edge behind Sweat and Young but definitely still has some left in the tank.
Ryan Anderson managed to have four sacks last year and finally seems to have carved a role following two lackluster seasons. Allen and Payne managed to get eight sacks as well with six to Allen and two to Payne. Settle also had two sacks as well. The Redskins have a ton of options for pass rushers and Rivera and new defensive coordinator, Jack Del Rio to scheme up players to terrorize opposing offenses.
Linebackers – 79, 17th (15% Defense, 4% Overall)
Under Del Rio, Washington has switched to a 4-3 defensive scheme in base formations. In base packages, it will be Davis, Foster, and Holcomb as the three starters. Foster is the do it all linebacker who, if everything works out correctly, could potentially be one of the better linebackers in the league this year. Holcomb is the second linebacker who showed plenty of promise last year, while Davis is the veteran of the room who brings plenty of experience to the room and is an able tackler who can also cover when needed.
A common theme of this front seven is depth, which the linebacking room also has. Josh Harvey-Clemons, Shaun Dion Hamilton, and the rookie, Khaleke Hudson offer plenty of upside, especially in nickel packages opposite of Foster. Jon Bostic and Nate Orchard were brought in during the offseason and could both potentially be cut in favor of younger options.
Secondary – 73, 27th (26% Defense, 17% Overall)
Unlike the rest of the defense, the secondary lacks an elite option as well as depth. Fabian Moreau and Ronald Darby figure to be the starting outside cornerbacks while Kendall Fuller who returns after a stay in Kansas City figures to be the starting slot cornerback. Jimmy Moreland was the starting slot corner last year but will have to find another way to find playing time now that Fuller is back. Washington also has Greg Stroman and Danny Johnson, who are more of slot corners as well. Aaron Colvin is the only other piece that could possibly start on the outside.
Landon Collins is more of a box safety than your typical coverage safety. Sean Davis and Troy Apke will battle for the free safety spot. With Collins being more of a run defender, I would be more comfortable with a better free safety than Apke or Davis as the main coverage safety.
Coach and Culture – 75, 27th (19% Offense, 28% Defense, 15% Overall)
With Rivera and Del Rio, the defense won’t be an issue. The offense, on the other hand, is an issue. Scott Turner rejoins Rivera from his time in Carolina and showed some promise last year with Allen under center as he was Carolina’s quarterback coach in 2018 and 2019. Turner also has experience coaching receivers as well. He is an up and coming coach with some experience but the team ranks 31st in offensive coach and culture.
Rivera and Del Rio are both defensive-minded coaches. The front seven of the defense has plenty of depth and star players. However, the secondary needs a lot of help and development. The Redskins rank tied for 11th in defensive coach and culture. This is only because two of their coaches that have super bowl appearances and tons of coaching experience.
While the defense is a player or two away from being one of the best in the league, the offense needs work. Haskins needs to prove to the new coaching staff that he is the starter. He could be on a short leash due to Rivera and Turner bringing in their personal favorite in Allen. A second option behind McLaurin needs to emerge and the left side of the offensive line needs to help Haskins develop or it could be another long year. The Redskins are improving, but need to regroup on offense before being titled as a legitimate contender for the playoffs.
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